Category Archives: Company Culture

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Make Us Your First Choice.

Around election time we start thinking about the options available to us in politics, life—and even in terms of your electricity provider!

Take a look at our long-time, loyal customer Mamie Pannell. After 59 years as our customer, Mrs. Pannell came into our Lewisville office and explained that, in terms of her household, she had never chosen the utility company.

This was our chance to help Mrs. Pannell make her first choice, the choice to keep us as her electric provider.

After pulling out bills from 1965, we talked to Mrs. Pannell about her options, and were honored to help her enroll in her first fixed-price plan.

Mrs. Pannell left our office with her head held high, having made her own decision—to keep First Choice Power as her provider.

Customers like Mamie Pannell really make us understand the importance of customer satisfaction. We hope that you are just as satisfied with your service and continue to make us your first choice electric provider.

 

*Thanks to Flickr user Ronn aka “Blue” Aldaman for the photo!

 

Be Blue!

July is known for being red, white and blue, so it makes sense that it’s National Blueberry Month. And it’s not just because of the blue color—the Native Americans actually taught the pilgrims how to use and eat blueberries, so they’re also a very American fruit. Today, blueberries are grown commercially in 14 states, and the U.S. produces about 60% of the world’s blueberries.

So why eat them? Blueberries are rich with Vitamins C and E, fiber, manganese and antioxidants, which are said to reduce your chances of getting cancer and heart disease. They also taste delicious! You can go traditional and make blueberry smoothies or blueberry muffins, or do something unexpected like trout with arugula and blueberries. You could even just wash them, dry them and freeze right on a cookie sheet for easy-to-eat blueberry-sicles. If you’re going to freeze blueberries to use for later, skip the washing and freeze directly in the plastic pint box wrapped in plastic wrap. Then wash them when you’re ready to use (before they fully defrost).

What’s your favorite way to eat blueberries? Share your recipes in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from blueberry treats to saving electricity.  

Don’t Be Fickle About Popsicles

It’s hot this summer, and we’re only halfway through June! By late afternoon, most of us at First Choice Power are content to hide indoors. But before you go cranking down the A/C, consider our favorite (and energy-efficient) way to cool off—popsicles!

You don’t need a delivery man to bring you one of these tasty treats. (And they’re not just for kids!) With a plastic mold and a little creativity, you can make some pretty delicious frozen treats. And the homemade ones aren’t loaded with artificial dyes and sugar like many from the store.

To start with, you’ll need some kind of a mold. A quick search of the Internet yields lots of options, including these cool ring-pop molds, fun twisty ones or even a fancy popsicle machine that freezes your pops in less than 10 minutes! You can also go old school and do a paper cup covered by plastic wrap with a wooden stick in the top.

Once your mold situation is figured out, it’s time to choose your recipe. Do you want to go classic, like an orange creamsicle, cherry or even fudgesicle? Or maybe try something new like root beer float pops or watermelon mint ice pops. We loved this easy popsicle recipe we found that uses leftover coffee!

Once you get the hang of your molds, you can try layering different flavors or using different bases such as yogurt, coconut milk, pudding and jello. The options are endless, but we figure we have until October to keep trying new recipes.

What’s your favorite popsicle flavor? Share it in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from summer treats to saving electricity.

Thanks to Flickr user Jennifer Chait

First Choice Power Volunteer Stars Across Texas

Here at First Choice Power, we believe in supporting the communities in which we live, and enjoy getting involved in volunteer projects. Every year we celebrate our First Choice Power volunteers during National Volunteer Week by giving them stars listing the many programs in which they’ve participated. It’s nice to walk around our offices and see employees with a collection of stars symbolizing their efforts within the community.

Today, we were very pleased to hand out stars across the board, acknowledging 100% employee participation in projects and fund-raisers supporting Food First™, our signature program to fight hunger in Texas. Since we started the Food First program in 2010, we’ve provided more than 1.2 million meals to help feed hungry children and families, and First Choice Power employees contributed about 30% of that! Our very own Catherine Carlton also sits on the Tarrant Area Food Bank Board. A big thanks to all our employees (and customers, and partners) for supporting a cause near and dear to our hearts.

Beyond our Food First efforts, we’re also proud that:

-       First Choice Power employees contributed over 400 volunteer hours to local communities across Texas in 2011, supporting programs like Meals on Wheels and the Community Action Food Pantry.

-       Staffers across the company helped to review grant applications in support of our Reduce Your Use, Energy Innovation grant programs.

So, for all our volunteers reading this: Many thanks for giving your time to making our communities better. And to all you volunteers out there, thanks for all you do!

Going Local

Why I love working at the First Choice Power Mission Office

Our local office teams always have the best stories, largely because they get to be hands-on, helping our customers every day. Recently, the team in the Mission office did a team-building exercise where they each shared why they love working at First Choice Power. Each person wrote her reasons on the office’s whiteboard cabinets, and we thought it was too awesome not to share.

Natalia listed that she likes going the extra mile and growing relationships day-by-day. Andrhea said she likes to challenge herself and others to do and be more. Monica wants to make a difference, to inspire, to learn and to leave the world a better place. As a group, they said they want to change the way people view utility companies.

We’re pretty proud to have such dedicated, caring folks on our team, and we hope the next time you’re in the Valley you’ll make sure to tell them hi. They would love the chance to help you with any questions you might have about your First Choice Power account.

Let us know about your experiences in our local offices all over Texas — we’ve got them in Lewisville and Texas City, in addition to Mission. In fact, we wanted to give a shout out to Monica, who was just promoted to office manager in Mission, and to Shawn, who was promoted to interim office manager in Texas City. Way to go, y’all! And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for information on everything from saving money on your electric bill to one-on-one customer service.

Don’t Forget to Wear Green!

Photo Credit: patrickpasty

We hope you see a Leprechaun or two or maybe even kiss the Blarney Stone this Saturday. It’s St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, so don’t forget to wear at least a touch of green so you don’t get pinched! We’re not exactly Irish, but we will still be looking for four-leaf clovers here at First Choice Power.

One of these years, we’re going to make it down to Shamrock, Texas for the annual Donegal beard-growing contest. Contestants start clean-shaven on January 1, and beards are judged on St. Patrick’s Day for length, thickness and overall appearance. But watch out—any man spotted on the streets of Shamrock without a beard can be thrown in the town’s Barefaced Jail. This year, we’ll have to make due with watching Growin’ A Beard, a funny documentary about the town and the contest.

What are your plans for St. Patrick’s Day? Tell us in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for all kinds of smart tips on saving electricity, choosing a good electric company and celebrating holidays all over Texas.

Happy Texas Independence Day, Y’all!

Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/calebthinks

Texas, our Texas, all hail the mighty state! We probably don’t have to tell you that on this day in 1836, Texas broke from Mexico to become the Republic of Texas. Yeehaw!

If you’re not too busy practicing our official state song, it’s not too late to head out to one of the many great events celebrating the Lone Star State. If you want to immerse yourself in history, head to Washington-on-the-Brazos, the birthplace of Texas where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed, for a dedication ceremony. Sadly, the popular Conroe Texas Independence Day Chili Cook-Off won’t be held this year, but they’re planning to get it back up for 2013. Tomorrow in Austin, you can cheer for a Texas Independence Day parade then do a 5k run up and down Congress Avenue right in front of the capitol.

How do you plan to celebrate? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current blog to stay up-to-date on news about Texas, electricity and fun things that are happening in the Lone Star State.

Happy National Grapefruit Month!

Photo Credit: Texas Agriculture

February is a month for celebrating love. It’s also a month for celebrating a love of grapefruit, at least it is if you live here in Texas. The grapefruit has only been our state fruit since 1993, but farmers have been growing it in the Rio Grande Valley since 1893. Legend has it that in 1929, farmers discovered the first red grapefruit growing on a pink grapefruit tree, and the delicious Texas Ruby Red was born.

So make a grapefruit pie, try a grapefruit drink or just eat one plain. Because you know what they say—a grapefruit a day keeps the doctor away.

Let us know how you’re going to celebrate National Grapefruit Month in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to The Current to say up on all kinds of news about Texas and all things related to energy and electricity.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Photo Credit: www.thewestpole.net/

Did you watch the news this morning? We did! After the balmy weather we’ve been having across Texas, we couldn’t believe that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. Maybe that forecast is just for those folks up in the East?

We’re more likely to trust the prediction of Bee Cave Bob, an armadillo known for his weather prediction. While there’s no news at press time what Bee Cave Bob has predicted (the Benevolent Knights of the Raccoon seem to get a later start than those Pennsylvanians), we figure it’s probably more accurate since he’s right here in Lone Star State. Either way, before we know it, it will be time to start spring cleaning on the HVAC and gutters…

Did you watch the news this morning? We did! (Sorry—just a little Groundhog Day humor for you there.) Have a great Groundhog Day, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Current for all kinds of Texas and energy-related news.

Life’s Unexpected Awards


Photo Credit: www.caritas-waco.org

Last November, we were happy to take part in the Food for Families event as part of our Food First™ program to end hunger in Texas. Food for Families is the largest one-day food drive in Texas, and it takes place on the Friday before Thanksgiving. We thought that donating 12,000 meals to Caritas of Waco seemed like pretty good way to celebrate and give thanks. At the end of the day, a total of 1,221,385 pounds of food was collected across Texas—a new all-time record!

Then at the awards ceremony in January, First Choice Power won the award for the most pounds of food donated—for the second year in a row. We couldn’t be more honored. Big thanks to all of our friends at Caritas of Waco for the award, and for all of the good work you’re doing in the community.